New breast density study and breast cancer risk: What you should know

December 6, 2015 | by Tami Dennis

Women with dense breast tissue have long been warned that they may be at a higher risk of breast cancer. With a new study suggesting that may not be the case, many may be tempted to skip their regular mammogram.

Not so fast.

The study of 230 Croatian women compared the breast density of those who developed breast cancer and those who didn’t – and found no significant difference. But that finding – or lack of a finding – is far from definitive.

The study involved relatively few women and didn’t follow them for a long period of time. Further, about 50 percent of U.S. women have dense breast tissue; only about 17 percent of the women in the Croatian study had dense breast tissue.

In short, "I don't think you can draw any conclusion,” said City of Hope’s Laura Kruper, M.D., in an interview with HealthDay. Kruper is director of the Women's Center and head of breast surgery service.

The findings were presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.

The American Cancer Society and many other organizations considers dense breast tissue to be among the risk factors for breast cancer. This one study won’t change that.

And with doctors in the U.S. raising an eyebrow at the conclusions, the individual conclusion for women is clear: Keep that mammogram appointment.


If you have been diagnosis with breast cancer and are looking for a second opinion or consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.

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